FIVE TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE GIVING
by Patricia Brintle
This article was published in the April 2013 newsletter of the National Association for Female Executives (NAFE)
1 – Be selective. When deciding to give to charity, your first responsibility will be to select a charity. Go with your heart and select a charity that specializes in what touches you the most. It may be the welfare of children, women safety, helping third-world countries, cancer research, or saving the environment. Whatever your choice, your gift to that charity will be that much more rewarding if their work focuses on a subject matter that you care about.
2 – Get to know your charity. Once you’ve decided what type of charity you want to give your money to, you will then need to select one among the field. Whether you select a large charity like The American Red Cross, or a small one like From Here to Haiti, Ltd. it is important that you do your due diligence in selecting the charity. The internet is a good place to start and there are many sites that will navigate you to one that will respond to your heart. Seek the advice of friends and acquaintances and learn from their experience. Once you’re zeroed in on a charity, check their website; speak with their officers, ask to speak with some of their donors. Learn about the work they are doing and become familiar with the charity’s methodology. Find out where they are located and if you can visit their office. Also, tax form #990, which will tell you about the charity’s financials are usually available for review on the internet. The more you know about your charity, the better you will feel about giving.
3 – Know where your money goes. Find out specifically where your money goes and what percentage of your donation will actually reach the beneficiary or be used for the intended cause. You may want to select a charity that raises money for a specific project and you may even want to follow the project’s progress; also, find out about the impact that your donation will have. Select a charity with a proven track record of success in accomplishing its projects.
4 – Volunteer with your charity. If this is your inclination, ask if you can volunteer to participate in one of your charity’s projects. Many charities depend on volunteers to get their job accomplished and your help can be a very rewarding experience. Also, remember that charities depend on donors to accomplish their mission. Ask for accountability but do not let your inquiries suppress your generosity.
5 – What are your tax benefits? Not-for-profit companies must be registered with the IRS in order for your gift to be tax deductible. Be sure to obtain an acknowledgement of your donation for tax purposes. You tax preparer will be your best help on the subject.